BYU Football: The Impact of the ESPN Deal
BYU and ESPN agreed to a TV contract that will run through the 2026 season.
On Monday, BYU Football announced that they will continue to have their home games broadcasted on the ESPN networks through the 2026 season. In a world where everything is run on money and winning, this is a huge win for the Cougars.
While the details on the contract have not been released, the extension is already guaranteed to favor the Cougars in the following ways:
1. Access to games: BYU Football is a national brand. As much as Utah fans and others like to disagree with that, the 10,000 fans at Knoxville and San Diego this year prove otherwise. Because of that, having a contract with a channel like the Pac 12 Network is not good enough for most fans. We've already had to deal with FloSports this season, and that was not very fun. At a worst case scenario, the Cougars will play on ESPN+, which for on ly $5 a month is not a bad deal, especially compared to the $20 FloSports option.
2. Money: Again, the details have not been released yet, however, it is expected that the extension comes with a raise, and we do know that last year BYU made only a few million dollars less than Utah, a Power Five team. Without the contract, BYU Football would have been in danger of making Group of Five money.
3. Leverage: This is less clear and definite, but if BYU could hold on to the ESPN contract and try to get into a conference they could use the TV converge as an asset. In a few years, all of the other TV contracts are going to expire, so maybe BYU could flaunt their ratings to the P5 or AAC Conferences and get an invite to the big table.
4. Chance for big coverage games: Let's say BYU has a really magical season in the next few years. Because of the ESPN deal, the Cougars could suddenly be on ESPN Primetime or ABC every single home game similar to LSU this season. With ESPN having so many networks, it is also less likely for them to get pushed back to channels that are less covered (Fox Sports West, NBC Sports Network). Essentially if BYU is on track to win nine or ten games, expect there to be six games either on ESPN, ESPN 2 or ABC with good kickoff times.
5. Guaranteed Bowl Games
Currently this does not seem like a huge deal since basically every bowl eligible team finds themselves in a bowl game, but who knows about the future? There could be a cut in bowl games or perhaps an influx of new teams in the NCAA. This may not be likely, but with the future so unsure, especially with new conference realignment coming up, having the promised bowl game (if eligible) is a security blanket that other teams just don't have.
What do you think about the new contract? Aren't you glad we won't have to rely on The Mountain or Flo Sports?